Even before the current war, Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East. Chronic poverty has been aggravated by conflict, weather and long-term instability. More than ten million people have insufficient food and two million have been displaced within the country. Bombing and fighting continues in many places and there are few aid agencies on the ground with too little money. Too many of those that are there have been holed up in the capital.
It's been over a year since the start of the recent conflict in Yemen, and life for children and their families is increasingly unbearable. In March last year, the Saudi-led Coalition launched a military operation in support of the Government of Yemen against Houthi opposition forces who had overthrown President Hadi. Since then, the humanitarian situation has rapidly deteriorated with over 80% of the country now in need of assistance and millions without access to vital healthcare, food, water and fuel.
The world faces a level of instability not seen since the Cold War. To avoid further escalation of conflict and insecurity, and to ensure our country does not lose its standing in the world, we need to put human rights and the observance of international law centre stage again. The Liberal Democrats intend being one of the main actors in this revival.
The International Development Committee is encouraged by DFID's focus on the long term development of Yemen and the department's support for UN efforts to facilitate peace talks. We urge the Government to apply pressure on all parties to the conflict so we can see progress in the peace talks and particularly to ensure that the accompanying ceasefire is adhered to by all sides.
Over 19 million Yemenis now lack access to safe drinking water or sanitation. 14 million are food insecure, over half severely so, and more than 500,000 children are severely malnourished. In the face of this, combatants on both sides have obstructed the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid.
World attention on the conflict in the Middle East is primarily focused on Syria and Iraq, and much less so on the catastrophe in Yemen, which has cost the lives of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes. The Saudi monarchy, with Britain's open support, has been waging war on Yemen for a year, and yet few Britons know anything about it.
A lack of profile sadly does not mean a lack of problems and as the war trundles on, attempts to distribute aid are severely hampered by fighting, damaged ports, closed airports, blocked humanitarian corridors and a country-wide lack of fuel. The figures speak for themselves and behind every one of these statistics is a human tragedy.
Maybe we shouldn't fret. As with the old reggae producers (King Tubby et al), we've apparently got our top people in the control room when it comes to the Saudi-Yemen onslaught (Philip Hammond, you might say, is "at the controls"). No, let's stop worrying and learn to love the bombing campaign in Yemen. Now repeat after me, "We have some of the most stringent export controls ...".
Countries like Saudi Arabia aren't just buying UK arms, they are also buying political support and very often silence about the human rights abuses they preside over. Changing this will take more than the cancellation of a few licences. It will need a complete overhaul of government foreign policy and an end to the hypocrisy at the heart of it.
Since the conflict escalated in March last year, 30 civilians are made casualties of war every day in Yemen. Houses and hospitals are bombed, whole civilian areas cut-off and under siege, and people are fleeing for their lives on a daily basis. After nine months of fighting, the country is sinking into a disaster of immense proportions and deeply tragic consequences.
As UK citizens it's important we stand in solidarity with CAAT's legal action, lending our signatures to their online petition, and lobbying our MPs to take a stand in the commons. It is clear, now more than ever, that the UK has to review this destructive trade relationship. It's time for the UK to #StopArmingSaudi.
For decades, Mercy Corps has worked with refugee and displaced populations, we know that building walls does not work. Europe's Schengen Agreement must remain in place and we must avoid the simplistic pretence that fences can be placed at our borders to preserve our economic well-being and security.
In the space of just eight months since the latest conflict broke out in late March, the numbers in need of humanitarian assistance have risen to over 80% of the population: a staggering 21.2million people, including almost 10million children. Over 1,500 children have been killed and injured as a result of the war... It is increasingly urgent that everything possible be done to halt the catastrophic loss of life.
Without a greater effort from Western and European policymakers to consider the impact of Saudis' bombing campaign, millions of refugees will soon be fleeing famine, water shortages and war, and joining the millions of refugees from Syria risking everything to reach the borders of Europe. If the West is unable to see Yemen as more than just a threat to their security, discussions on how to support it will go hand-in-hand with how best to bomb it.
Corbyn should take the Ambassador's comments as a badge of honour and a sign that he's doing the right thing. However, it will take the words and actions of people from across all parties and wider society if the UK is to finally change its policy and end its support for the oppressive and authoritarian House of Saud.